International development agency working to improve the lives of children
Founded in 1937, Plan is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty.
Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan has only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Because I am a Girl is Plan’s global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and everyone around them – out of poverty.
Visit plancanada.ca and becauseiamagirl.ca for more information.
Without options to excel outside of the household, many girls are kept silent and their needs are left unaddressed. Unfortunately, gender and age make refugee girls vulnerable to unique and especially dangerous challenges. Some are forced into child marriage in an effort to escape starvation for themselves or their families, often with older men.
Austin and Shrida are two members of Plan International Canada's Youth Advisory Council. In recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day, they asked a few of their fellow council members about their experiences with menstrual health and stigma.
When it comes to global killers, malaria is one of our planet's deadliest perpetrators. In fact, half of the world's population -- 3.2 billion people -- is at risk. In 2016, one child died from malaria every two minutes.
Like so many of our most pervasive diseases, malaria is even deadlier for women and children.
We are all learning to find our voices and we are all advocates for a cause, whether or not we realize it. So take up space, and raise your voice. If you don't know what to say, then sing, dance, or build something. Find a way to tell your story.
Eighty years ago, the Spanish Civil War resulted in a vast displacement and large number of unaccompanied child refugees. It was from the ashes of that crisis that Plan International was created. I am sure John Langdon-Davies, the founder of Plan International, would be heartbroken to know how urgently, in so many parts of the world, our work is still needed.
Here in Canada, most of us don't really think about water. Easy access to clean drinking water is part of our daily expectations. But in many parts of Kenya, where I recently visited to see some of Plan International Canada's programs, it's impossible not to think about water -- or rather, the severe lack of it.
As a Youth Advisory Council, our purpose is to provide Plan International Canada with guidance and insights that enable the organization to represent and mobilize a national network of youth, so it can live up to its commitment to improving the lives of children and youth around the world.
Our presence was impossible to ignore, and showed what was possible as we begin a new sort of movement. A movement with women at the helm. A movement with no leader, instead motivated by a unifying commitment to the fight for justice and equality.
The enormity of the humanitarian crises facing the world are sometimes difficult to comprehend, let alone productively address. But humanitarian workers are working hard in Tanzania and in other countries around the world to support people living in the most difficult situations imaginable.
Many people acknowledge youth to be the leaders of tomorrow and understand that we are the voices of the future; however, this International Youth Day, the world must recognize that youth leadership is also key to tackling the biggest issues facing the world today.
Child-sex tourism is a particular kind of commercial sexual exploitation of children, interrelated with prostitution, pornography and human trafficking for sexual purposes. It occurs when someone travels to a place and, while there, sexually abuses a local child or young person.
Despite the fact that children themselves consistently prioritize education above all else, when asked about their greatest needs during times of crisis, less than two per cent of humanitarian funding currently goes towards education. There is still a very narrow perception that when a crisis hits, education is simply a nice to have, rather than a need to have. Food, water, shelter and sanitation always seem to take precedent. And although all of those things are essential, I reject the notion that education is not equally as important.
This year, the World Health Organization is calling on the global community to "end malaria for good" by lowering the global malaria burden over the next 15 years, and reducing malaria death rates by at least 90%. We still have a long way to go, but the end of the malaria epidemic may finally be in sight, and could even be achieved within our lifetime.
Rather than close the Global Affairs Canada's Office of Religious Freedom, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion should seize the opportunity to transform it into a real force for change for all excluded minorities in developing countries.
Girls living in poverty across the developing world are also much more likely to be subjected to violence than their brothers. Many believe girls have no business being in school. Many are forced against their will into marriage and intercourse in their teens. Two out of three victims of child trafficking around the world are girls.
World Toilet Day is important because it highlights an everyday technology that most people in Canada take for granted, yet one third of the world still lacks: a vital technology that saves lives and alleviates suffering.
As a competitive athlete you sign up for scrutiny and judgment. But, even then, you need to be thick skinned because you're out there doing your best, succeeding or failing for everyone to see. Kids who get bullied don't sign up to be judged.
Nearly 90 per cent of girls tell Plan International that they have more opportunities in life than their mothers did. That's progress. But in developing countries, girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer malnutrition, and 63 million girls (many more than boys) don't attend school. Removing barriers to education, health care and other rights isn't enough. We need to focus on how girls can move beyond merely surviving, to thriving.
The next global goals -- the SDGs that will take us to the year 2030 -- will need to build on the progress of the MDGs and go beyond them to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable population -- especially girls, and including people in the poorest and most remote rural communities, refugees, and women in minority groups.